Gas consumption down to 2000 levels

Better vehicle fuel-efficiency and moderating demand for highway travel are combining to push gasoline consumption down.

U.S. gasoline consumption is on pace to drop to its “lowest levels since Elian Gonzalez was at the top of the news, Time Warner was heralding the synergies of its AOL purchase, and ‘American Beauty’ was the Golden Globe winner. The year was 2000,” said Tom Kloza told the Los Angeles Times. Kloza is an analyst with the Oil Price Information Service.

Americans are using less gas even though there are more of them. Population has grown by 31 million since the turn of the century.

The downward trend both exacerbates the erosion of fuel taxes as a source of transportation funding, but at the same time suggests that agencies may be able to economize by rethinking capacity projects.